Her breath was heavy and laboring as she struggled in my grasp, close to hysterics. Her eyes were filled with a desperate plea and glimmering tears as she tried in vain to tear herself away from me. “Let me go,” her straining voice was meek, shaking like her quaking body.
Let her go?
I wanted nothing more to make her happy. Well almost nothing more. The one thing I wanted more was to hold her in my arms and not let go. Which was conflicting with my former ideal, because to my dismay, she was hating this.
"Let me go, Mr.Ebihara, please…" Her words came out as she stopped trying to wiggle her way out of my embrace, now left only filled with tears and sorrow and vulnerability. She looked down and away from me as she spoke, her small hands finally resting on my chest and clutching at the fabric. "Please…"
She wasn’t the only one shaking at this point. I could feel my own body trembling with the overflow of emotions welling in my core. I hated that it was me making her cry. I should just let her go. Forget about all of this - forget about her. I have never been this reckless and unprofessional in my life. So why was I like this with her? How come every time she was near I tossed all caution right out the door, giving up the very foundation on which I was raised up upon, only to cause some weird sort of chaos and confusion every time. I wasn’t even this careless in my home life. It just goes to show that love is a very dangerous flame and it’s easy to get yourself burned, especially when the flame you decide you want is on someone else’s candle.
I was in love with a married woman.
I don’t know when I fell in love with her or just quite how I allowed myself to fall for her, but I did and I fell hard. She was new to my division of work. She came in bright eyed and as a newly wed. She was like a puppy almost, eager to help but not quite sure what to do. I ended up mentoring her, not that I wanted to really. Her ideas at first were cliched and over used and she never knew what to do with herself at meetings. But that was just when I first met her.
She ended up blossoming unbelievably. Her ideas and proposals got more creative and they prospered. She could hold herself with more confidence and poise. She eventually got to the point where her work was exceeding requirements. I ended up spending a lot of time with her on projects, talking through ideas, visiting clients, and checking in on various details as she began excelling in her work. I began to respect her and admire her. Though it wasn’t until that faithful night in the bar that I viewed her as the breath-taking woman she was.
She was at a corner table, talking to a younger bar tender with an irritate look on her face when I entered that bar. She seemed to growl something that prompted a hefty laughter from the bartender before he walked away. He must have seen me looking because as he brushed past he gave me a smirk. “If you’re aiming for her, don’t get your hopes up too high. She’s feisty.” He explained walking past back to the bar. I shook the comment off, before I found myself walking over to her. I couldn’t help myself, at the bartender had left she got a more solemn expression that came to her face. She looked up at me with surprise, calling out my name as I sat by her. I could smell the faint scent of alcohol laced in her breath. That’s probably why she stated talking to me in the first place about her personal life, like I was some stranger she was seeking comfort from. She began telling me how she met her husband and how he treated her. So many times throughout the conversation I wanted to tell her to stop, remind her that I was her boss. But I never could find the words during the conversation. Something about the way she looked at me with her wide eyes made me want to protect her. They made me want to take her away from what she was dealing with and just make it better. Granted, I didn’t know how I planned on making it better at the time, but that’s what I felt like I should have done.
After that night, having me brought her to her empty house after she ended deliriously drunk, we started spending more time together talking about personal things. I shouldn’t have pestered her and I tried not to. But when we were alone I would ask her simple questions like ‘how are you’ and ‘how was your weekend.’ It was strange coming from me, Mr. workaholic, but I found myself longing to know how she was. She didn’t open up much about what happened at home after that drunk night at the bar but we seemed to have grown closer after that. Things were starting to become less professional between us. She started being more emotionally open with me too. She’d come into work tired, but after talking to me she always seemed more energized. She even smiled at me for stupid things like small praises on her work. I didn’t know she had a smile like that, it was hard to tell that she had that face since she always appeared to be anxious, probably due to her husband. She never smiled at any of her other coworkers like that. It was just me, like I was coaxing it out of her. It was the same with her laugh and her excitement. It was like I uncovered a hidden gem of a girl soiled by a dirty marriage.
And this interest I had taken in her had gone overboard tonight, when after she had taken a vacation from work for a while, I couldn’t stand not being able to see her, so I called her to come to my house with the lame excuse of wanting her to help me go over these plans. She agreed and when she came to my house, we sat on my couch, hunched over my coffee table analyzing documents, our arms brushing against each other. I couldn’t help myself then. I was stupid an foolish to invite her over. I told myself Id be able to control myself, but of course I couldn’t. I turned around and pulled her into my arms, before our lips met. Something clicked inside of me in that moment and I lost myself in her taste. It was then I realized I loved her and that I wanted her - needed her - badly. But at that moment that something clicked with me, the opposite idea settled with her, that she needed to get away from me, which caused her to break up apart from me, already upset and close to tears as she started to beg me to let her go.
Still clinging to her as if I were to let go I would wither and die, I inhaled deeply, trying to calm my self just enough to speak. “I- I’m sorry,” I began, my voice husky, dipping into a low range that conveyed the emotion pulsating through me like electricity. “I just can’t help myself.. I…” Ah, to hell with it, already. The words began pouring out of me like an avalanche, glazed with my desperation that was equivalent to a dog that had been starved for weeks an was now begging for food. “Leave him.”
Her body seemed to tense now at the urgency in my voice as I continued, “Leave him and be with me instead. He doesn’t treat you right and he doesn’t deserve you. You deserve to be happy,” my voice was thick, trying to show her all the things I felt that I just couldn’t quite put into words, like the way I felt like I was breaking into pieces when I saw her look so depressed, or how she drove my wild enough to where I was willing to do absolutely anything for her and I would do so gladly “I could make you so much happier than he ever could. I love you so much more. Don’t you get it? I want to be with you. I want to fix the heart of yours that he broke. I love you. So be with me instead…”
There was a heart beat of silence that thickened in the air around us. It only lasted for a blink of an eye, yet it felt like an eternity to me as she hesitated. Finally, she looked back up at me, her face red and tear stained. For a fraction of a moment I could see her bottom lip quivering, but I didn’t get to notice it for long because she stood on her tip toes and brought her lips to the very corner of my mouth in a feather light kiss. Just before she pulled back, she murmured two very soft yet two very powerful words against my skin that completely shook me. “I’m sorry.”
I already knew what was coming after that and a horrid disbelief flooded through me. The arms I had encircling her loosened, before falling back to my sides letting her free. She scampered back from me like a deer from a hunter. She had the doe eyes at least - wide and fretting. Those eyes told me all the pained stored in her heart. “I’m sorry, Mr. Ebih… Kippei. I can’t. I-I have a husband at home.”
The words pierced through me like a gun shot and I stood their frozen for a moment, trapped in a strange crossbreed of disbelief and depression. I don’t know why I was so shocked, after all I knew she had a husband from the beginning. And I knew she had every intention on staying with him. But I just thought that maybe she loved me back enough to give him up. Did she not love me? Was that it?
No… I could tell in one glance of how she shook as she watched me from her now afar position. She looked so sad, as if her heart was cracking just like mine. I don’t think it was because she didn’t want to be with me. She just couldn’t. Not with her position. For some reason, that hurt even more.
Suddenly, she smiled. I loved her smiles - it was one of the reasons I loved her. Her smile was so comforting and filled with hope, warmth and determination. It was the kind of smile that probably made other guys before me fall in love. But this smile was different. It had a feel about it akin to a reluctant regret. it was unsettling. She was smiling her goodbye. It was saying farewell to not only me but to everything between us and everything that was ever going to happen between us. There wasn’t any more hope that we would be together in that smile. It was the purest form of goodbye.
"I’m sorry…" I spoke unable to get any other of the words out. I could hardly say that. But I needed to say something. The quiet accompanying us was too much to handle alone, not when she was smiling at me like that.
She shook her head slowly, as if to indicate no apology needed as she began to walk towards the exit. She didn’t look back as she added, “I need to get home now.” And with those final words of parting - she didn’t actually say goodbye, she didn’t need too - she walked right out of my door, stepping on and shattering my heart just as she crossed the threshold.